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General Agriculture

3 Types of Grazing Management Systems

There are many grazing management systems adopted by farmers and elsewhere. These systems are further categorized based on the size of livestock owned by farmers and the area of land for grazing.

Where the land is scarce, such as in cities and urban areas, grazing livestock is rarely possible, because of traffic and human inconveniences. Therefore, farmers adopt other means of feeding their livestock to suit the condition they found themselves.

Grazing Management Systems involve thoughtful and systematic approaches to optimize the use of pastures for livestock farming. These systems are designed to ensure that grazing activities support the long-term health of the pasture and the well-being of the animals.

One common strategy is rotational grazing, which entails dividing the pasture into sections and rotating the livestock between these areas. By allowing each section to rest and regrow while the animals graze in another, rotational grazing prevents overgrazing and promotes healthy pasture growth.

This method helps maintain a balance between forage availability and livestock needs, contributing to sustainable and productive pasture management.

Another approach is known as intensive grazing, where livestock are confined to smaller areas for shorter periods. This system ensures that the animals graze efficiently without causing excessive damage to the pasture.

By carefully controlling the timing and duration of grazing, intensive grazing helps maintain optimal pasture conditions and encourages healthy plant regrowth.

Furthermore, implementing rest periods for the pasture is a vital aspect of grazing management. Allowing the land to rest periodically enables the vegetation to recover and rejuvenate, ensuring sustainable forage production over the long term.

These rest periods support the development of strong root systems, which are crucial for maintaining the health and resilience of the pasture.

Therefore, understanding and implementing effective grazing management systems, farmers can ensure the sustainable use of pasture resources, promote healthy pasture growth, and support the overall well-being of their livestock.

These practices not only contribute to the productivity of the farm but also help preserve the long-term health of the land for future agricultural activities.

3 Types of Grazing Management Systems

3 Types of Grazing Management Systems

1. Zero Grazing Management System

This is a grazing management system that is most common in urban and peri-urban areas where forage materials are cut and brought to house animals for feeding. It is sometimes referred to as a cut-and-carry system. It has the following advantages:

1. It saves labor in grazing livestock;

2. It saves costs and time for the farmer;

3. Farmers determine the type of forage to be fed to livestock;

4. It helps to clear roadsides and natural rangelands from excess forages during the rainy season;

5. It helps to facilitate the re-growth of forages;

It may, however, have some disadvantages. These include:

1. Livestock are forced to feed on only one type of feed provided;

2. There may be problems of forage rejection or low intake by livestock;

3. Sometimes it may be laborious especially when the distance is far away from the farm.

Read Also: Definition, Advantages, and Disadvantages of Grazing Management System

2. Semi-Intensive Grazing Management Systems

These are grazing management systems in which livestock are allowed to have access to pasture for a very long time during the day before they are returned to their pens.

Examples of these grazing systems are continuous and deferred grazing management systems. The advantages of this system of grazing management include the following:

1. It helps to improve the quality of livestock products e.g. milk yield etc.

2. It gives animals the liberty to exercise in the pasture;

3. It helps to distribute urine and dung evenly in the pasture;

4. It facilitates the growth of desirable pasture species;

5. It helps to conserve natural rangelands and pasture resources;

6. They are cost-effective for the farmer.

The main disadvantage of this system is that livestock may be exposed to the problem of toxic pasture species which are undesirable in the pasture.

Read Also: Ruminants Grazing Techniques – Suitable Methods

3. Intensive Grazing Management Systems

These are grazing management systems in which livestock are completely prevented from grazing outside the farm. These systems are highly efficient in terms of outputs but are expensive to establish.

Examples of these systems include- rotational grazing, strip/rationed grazing, and straight creep grazing systems. The following advantages are recognized in these systems:

1. Increased livestock productivity;

2. Increased income level for farmers;

3. Reduction of mortality of young animals;

4. Easy control of livestock by the herder;

Easy identification and control of diseases and disease vectors, However, the following are some disadvantages of these systems:

1. Movement of livestock is restricted to the area in paddocks only, and this may affect their  health;

2. They are very expensive to establish by farmers;

3. Animals are also forced to feed on only one type of pasture species in intensively managed farms.

There are many types of grazing management systems. However, farmers do practice not all of these systems. These include the following:

1. Zero grazing/Cut and carry system –This involves cutting the pasture from the field and feeding it to livestock in their pens.

2. Continuous grazing system – This system involves keeping the animals in pasture for grazing throughout the year.

3. Deferred grazing system – In this system, some parts of the pasture are prevented from grazing by livestock until certain times of the year

4. Rotational grazing – This involves grazing livestock in paddocks for a certain number of days before they are moved to another paddock

5. Strip grazing system – In this system, livestock is allowed to graze an area demarcated with the electrical strip. Animals are lightly shocked when they touch the strip

6. Straight Creep grazing system – This involves a creep area for young animals and a base pasture for the dam or mother. It is done to improve the growth of young animals

7. Forwards Creep grazing system – This involves the use of base pasture for animals with high nutrient requirements e.g. young animals first, before others

8. First and Last Suizers grazing system – This system considers different classes of livestock for grazing at the same time e.g. cattle, sheep, and goats

In summary, zero grazing management involves cutting the forage material by farmers to feed livestock in their pens. There are some advantages and disadvantages of semi-intensive and intensive grazing management systems. Grazing management systems many but only a few systems are practiced.

Read Also: Feeding and Grazing Behavior of Goats

Read Also: How to Make Money from Recycling Old Tire Wastes


Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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